Today there was a long drive to reach Merzouga, where we dropped off our gear at a simple Auberge, drank mint tea and talked to some of the other group who mirror our tour, and then rode camels into the edge of the Sahara Desert, staying in the Erig reason in a real berber tent and compound. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset after a heart rending, calf muscle screaming hike up a very steep sand dune – to sit in awe and silence at the very tip of the highest dune around. The camp looked like a small jigsaw puzzle from this height, the grazing animals of other Berber compounds only specs on the desert floor. The dunes are stunning, especially at this time of the day, and the camping under a thousand stars, whilst being served a hearty tangine for dinner and, later, entertained by beautiful Berber boys/camel drivers on bongo-like drums was one of the highlights of the tour so far. I as invited to join in on the drums, playing in rhythm with the sounds of berber music, and acquitted myself admirably, such that later, we jammed in a rather strange English/Arabic rap type session whereby I defended the honour our female guide against a (jesting) suggestion that she share the other group’s (male) guide’s tent. I then slept half the night under the stars, something I have never done before, (The sand and lighning eventually drove me into the allocated tent to sleep soundly until an early morning wake up call)
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Day 7: Midelt and the Sahara
Drumming around the campfire.
Our camp - The attendants slept in a similar camp nearby. The real deal! (except there were western toilets. Fair's Fair - it is a holiday!
Our helpful attendants watch us mount these bloody uncomfortable animals! I still have bruises....
The train outside out hotel - awaiting the 1.5 hour trek
View from the hotel terrace - not bad! The camp is for the hotel staff - they really live in these things!